I’ve been revisiting some of the popular movies recently and it got me wondering about real locations vs. sets and green screen magic. One random Google search on a Friday night and my curiosity was quenched.

It’s interesting to note that some iconic film locations actually exist in real life and are open to visitors.

1. The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, USA

Stephen King had a nightmare during his stay at the hotel in 1974 and turned it into a horror masterpiece with “The Shining.” The Stanley Hotel served as the inspiration for the eerie Overlook Hotel in the film.

Years later, while unhappy with Kubrick’s interpretation of the novel, King shot his own mini-series produced by ABC here. Timberline Lodge in Oregon served as the exterior of the haunted Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.”

2. Palace of Versailles, France

Most of Marie Antoinette (2006) was shot here. If you’re familiar with Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, you’ll find some scenes shot at the Hall of Mirrors and Bassin d’Apollo.

3. Sayama Hills, Saitama, Japan

That whimsical forest in My Neighbor Totoro? Yep. Inspired by this beautiful stretch of grasslands and woods located just outside of Tokyo.

4. Alnwick Castle, England

The first two films in the Harry Potter series were filmed on location. 

In one memorable scene, Harry and Ron crash-landed the Weasley family’s enchanted flying car in the inner baileys of the castle.

5. The Skellig Michael, Ireland

The Skelligs served as Luke Skywalker’s hideout in the Star Wars episodes 7 and 8, “The Last Jedi” and “The Force Awakens.”


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